Hip replacement surgery is performed when hip joints damaged due to injury or disease cause pain and loss of mobility. The operation replaces the socket of the hip and the rounded end of the thigh bone with artificial parts made of plastic and metal alloys.
Hip replacement surgery counts as one of the greatest medical advances of our time. About 50,000 hip replacements (1) are performed annually in the UK.
The hip is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints and is made up of two main parts: a ball (femoral head) at the top of your thigh bone that fits into a rounded socket (acetabulum) in your pelvis.
Ligaments keep the ball in the socket and stabilise the whole joint. The ball moves smoothly in its socket on a lining of shock-absorbing cartilage. If the joint becomes worn or damaged through injury, arthritis or other conditions, it will become stiff and painful.
Hip replacement surgery takes approximately two hours under general anaesthetic.
You can also have a spinal or an epidural anaesthetic, which numbs the lower half of your body and is less risky than a general anaesthetic.
The surgeon will replace the ball of your femur (thigh bone) with a metal ball, which is attached to a metal stem cemented inside the long bone of your femur.
A plastic socket is cemented in place in the pelvis and both fit together to mimic natural hip function.
Your new hip will give you increased leg strength, movement and mobility. When you have healed, you will again be able to enjoy everyday activities. More intense recreational activities, such as cycling, walking and playing golf, may also be possible.
Your new hip should last at least 10 years or more, but repeat procedures may be necessary after that time. New hips are more likely to fail in younger people who are more active. The hip replacement should last older patients the rest of their lives.
Benefits of hip replacement surgery:
* Long lasting, with a target life of 10 years (1)
* Relieves pain
* Increased mobility, better quality of life
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